On March 24, 2016, Peace Islands Institute Center for Interfaith Affairs hosted Dr. Zeki Saritoprak for luncheon series on his recently published book “Islam’s Jesus.” Dr. Saritoprak is a professor of Islamic Studies and Bediuzzaman Said Nursi Chair at John Carroll University.
Saritoprak started off by highlighting the little-known facts about Jesus’s place in the Quran in particular and Islamic faith in general. For instance, Jesus, as Saritoprak recalled, is among of the five arch-prophets in Islam, along with Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Muhammad. Also, Muslims hold his mother, Mary, in a high esteem, which is evident throughout their scripture.
The rest of the presentation centered around the three different approaches among Islamic theologians regarding the descent of Jesus, namely, the modernist approach, the literalist approach, and the interpretive approach. Among them, Saritoprak elaborated on the interpretive approach and said a considerable number of Muslims believe the Second Coming will be in the form of message of peace. “The spirituality of Jesus, the spirituality of Muhammad is what will return. This will come back much stronger. Not only the personality but also the spirituality represented by Jesus. People will come together in this spirit,” he said.
Speaking of peacebuilding and dialogue between the Abrahamic faiths, Saritoprak argued both Jesus and Mary offer remarkable commonalities. “The establishment of peace is the essence of the message of Jesus and the essence of the message of Muhammad. The people who are now terrorizing and murdering in the name of religion would not be able to do that if we have dialogue,” the professor added.
Closing the lecture, Dr. Saritoprak opened the floor for the audience’s vibrant questions followed by his book signing.